Thought that husband is inconsistent with wants


My husband said he wanted to spend less time on his cell phone and for us to spend more time together. This was last Friday. He complains that we aren’t engaged enough with each other on weeknights because he’s doing his own things like watching TV or watching videos on his phone, and I’m doing my own thing–SCS, reading, browsing the internet, etc.

For me, I feel fine with this because being next to him is enough for me. For him, he gets that feeling of “connected” when we are sharing an experience, such as watching the same show or going out somewhere (like a restaurant, walking around the block, walking by the beach, etc).

He suggested that starting Sunday, we don’t use cell phones after 8pm and I limited it to 10 pm since that’s when I go to sleep and because he often can’t sleep, he turns to electronics. I suggested, and he begrudgingly agreed to, “No TV” during that time because I don’t like watching TV and we don’t even like the same shows. I also said that the same shows he watches on his phone he watches on the smart TV so just cutting out the phone would make no difference.

As soon as Sunday 8pm came, I had the thought “my husband is annoyed and unhappy because he wants to use his phone and can’t.” and “He doesn’t know how to not give in to urges. He’s like a baby having a tantrum” For the first thought, I thought this because of the way he was acting. He was quieter, wasn’t engaging in conversation, was giving one word answers, and doing some other things that further confirmed my thought. The second thought is already a belief I had that was also further confirmed [because my brain seeks to prove thoughts true].

On Monday, my husband had the same actions.

On Tuesday (today), at 7:30 pm he said that he just wanted to zone out on the TV because he was tired and stressed by the events in the world. I suggested if he should move the “no electronics” time to 8:30 or 9pm and he said no, and that tomorrow he didn’t want to do it either. In fact, he said, he didn’t want to do it anymore at all. I asked him if he was sure since he complains we don’t spend enough time together and it was only for 2 hours per night. I said I had liked the idea and it would be great for us to focus on our relationship. We could talk, play games, be intimate, listen to music, etc. He responded with yes, he would like to stop.

So here’s how I’m trying to view and process this as a scholar:

My husband is an adult and he can make his choices and I can make mine. I believe this and I’m fine with this.

What I don’t like is that I know he’s going to start complaining again that we don’t spend time together on weeknights. My thought is that he wants us to spend time together when it’s most convenient for him or when he feels like it and that he wants us to do what he wants to do–mainly watch TV. My thought is that he can’t complain we don’t spend enough time together and then complain that he wants to watch TV and use his phone when we do separate the time.

But again, we’re all adults. Those are just my thoughts. The reality is that the circumstance is neutral and nothing has gone wrong here. There’s nothing he’s doing wrong, there’s nothing I’m doing wrong. He gets to express himself the way he wants and I get to decide how I want to show up.

So when he comments that we don’t spend enough time together, I want to be understanding of where he’s coming from and acknowledge his feelings. Depending on what I’m doing at that time, I may decide to stop so we can talk or go out for a walk or something similar. Or, I may decide that I’d rather continue what I’m doing, reminding him that at other times we’ve had the time, but he wanted to spend it on his electronics. In the same way, I want to continue with what I’m doing. Regardless of which I choose, my boundary is that I don’t want to watch TV with him to “connect” but I’m willing to do any number of other activities.

As a SCS, how did I do?